Edmonds doesn’t want to become next Seattle after City Council bans public camping
After weeks of delays and debates, the Edmonds City Council passed an ordinance banning camping in public spaces Tuesday evening.
The measure, which passed by a vote of 5-2, allows police to arrest someone for occupying public property after they have refused an offer to go to an available shelter.
The shelter must be within a 35-mile radius of Edmonds City Hall, and the city must provide notice of up to 72 hours if crews are confiscating property. If shelter space is available, but refused by a camper, violating the ordinance is considered a misdemeanor and punishable with a fine of up to $1,000 or 90 days in jail.
This was the fourth time the Edmonds City Council has taken up the ordinance, and it has sparked plenty of debate about how Edmonds doesn’t want to become the next Seattle.
“I’m very familiar with the encampments that I saw personally at Green Lake and Woodland Park,” explained Edmonds City Councilmember Neil Tibbott to KIRO 7 News. “It just grew and grew and grew until Seattle decided to clear that out.”
Ursula Reutin and Gee Scott both support the ordinance, but also agree there needs to be a more adequate housing plan. There are currently no shelter beds in Edmonds, and Emergency Motel Vouchers are limited to those looking for housing.
“If you’re going to pass something like this, which I actually technically agree with – don’t pass this and say ‘we don’t have any shelter for you,'” explained Ursula Reutin on the Gee & Ursula Show. “This is exactly what needs to happen, but what also needs to happen is you need to provide shelter space.
“You don’t want to become Seattle. Well, don’t become Seattle and offer some shelter space in your own community and deal with your own homeless people.”